Words and Stones: The Politics of Language and Identity in Israel

Hardcover | September 17, 2004

byDaniel Lefkowitz

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Social and ethnic identity are nowhere more enmeshed with language than in Israel. Words and Stones explores the politics of identity in Israel through an analysis of the social life of language. By examining the social choices Israelis make when they speak, and the social meanings suchchoices produce, Daniel Lefkowitz reveals how Israeli identities are negotiated through language. Lefkowitz studies three major languages and their role in the social lives of Israelis: Hebrew, the dominant language, Arabic, and English. He reveals their complex interrelationship by showing howthe language a speaker chooses to use is as important as the language they choose not to use - in the same way that a claim to an Israeli identity is simultaneously a claim against other, opposing identities. The result is a compelling analysis of how the identity of "Israeliness" is linguisticallynegotiated in the three-way struggle among Ashkenazi (Jewish), Mizrahi (Jewish), and Palestinian (Arab) Israelis. Lefkowitz's ethnography of language-use is both thoroughly anthropological and thoroughly linguistic, and provides a comprehensive view of the role language plays in Israeli society.His work will appeal to students and scholars of sociolinguistics, anthropology, and linguistic anthropology, as well as students and scholars of Israel and the Middle East.

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Social and ethnic identity are nowhere more enmeshed with language than in Israel. Words and Stones explores the politics of identity in Israel through an analysis of the social life of language. By examining the social choices Israelis make when they speak, and the social meanings suchchoices produce, Daniel Lefkowitz reveals how Isra...

Daniel Lefkowitz is at University of Virginia.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 6.3 × 9.29 × 1.18 inPublished:September 17, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195121902

ISBN - 13:9780195121902

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"An accessible and erudite ethnographic investigation... This book is an invaluable contribution to an every growing body of literature on matters of identity formation. ... The author succeeds in his aim to provide insights into social transformation by means of this study and successfullyhighlights the important relationship between language and culture. Words and Stones is highly recommended to scholars of language, anthropology and, indeed, scholars of the culture and politics of the Middle East."--Linguist List